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Old January 27, 2019, 09:16 AM   #1
dahermit
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The purpose of a flash hider.

When I was in Basic Training in 1962, I was issued an M1 Garand. M1s do not have flash hiders. However, the M1s replacement, the M14 did have a flash hider as did the M16 of the Vietnam era.

A few years ago, a former Marine told me that the purpose of a flash hider was not to hide the flash from detection by the enemy, but to "hide" the flash of firing from the shooter to enable maintaining the shooter's night vision while firing his weapon.

This begs the question, inasmuch as we had a night-firing exercise in which we fired our flash hider-less M1s at silhouette targets in the dark without loosing our night vision, just what is its purpose then?
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:12 AM   #2
reinert
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It wasn't too long ago that I was reading a story on the .303 Jungle carbine. It stated the same thing, protection of the shooter's night vision, not to hide the muzzle flash from the enemy.
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:41 AM   #3
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Yup, hide it from the shooter, not the shootee.. Lol
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Old January 27, 2019, 11:01 AM   #4
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Hiding from both is best. Flashes attract bullet.
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Old January 27, 2019, 11:17 AM   #5
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All of the above. Plus it helps protect the crown from damage.
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Old January 27, 2019, 11:39 AM   #6
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a flash hider will also diminish the total amount of light, The brightness, the heat and incandescence of it.

A bullet ejecting will blow a fireball out of the side. A huge, hot fireball.

A flash hider breaks up that fireball, delays it, sets up turbulence, and sends some of that light out to the side radially along with the flame. The hider cools things down and breaks up the ball of incandescent gasses and cuts out some of the light.

Per wikipedia referencing Army Field Manual FM 3-22:

Quote:
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a muzzle device attached to the muzzle of a rifle that reduces its visible signature while firing by cooling or dispersing the burning gases that exit the muzzle, a phenomenon typical of carbine-length weapons. Its primary intent is to reduce the chances that the shooter will be blinded in low-light shooting conditions. Contrary to popular belief, it is only a minor secondary benefit if a flash suppressor reduces the intensity of the flash visible to the enemy.[
Everything in the original is correct.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_suppressor
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Old January 27, 2019, 01:31 PM   #7
dahermit
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Quote:
Per wikipedia referencing Army Field Manual FM 3-22:

Quote:
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a muzzle device attached to the muzzle of a rifle that reduces its visible signature while firing by cooling or dispersing the burning gases that exit the muzzle, a phenomenon typical of carbine-length weapons. Its primary intent is to reduce the chances that the shooter will be blinded in low-light shooting conditions. Contrary to popular belief, it is only a minor secondary benefit if a flash suppressor reduces the intensity of the flash visible to the enemy.[
But then why, with no flash hider on our M1 Garands, we were not effected by the flash...or barely noticed it during our night firing exercise? If we would have lost our night vision from the flash, we would not have been able to continuing firing.
The M1 Garand has a barrel length of 24 inches. The M14 has a barrel length of 22 inches. Would two inches make a difference in muzzle flash?
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Old January 27, 2019, 01:45 PM   #8
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On preserving the shooter's night vision: I don't question that idea.

A Special Forces A-team leader I know quite well described an event in Bosnia.
Heavy fire was coming from a tree line at night. Fire was returned at the muzzle flashes.

A later recon of the site showed showed significant evidence of casualties.

But,yes,preserving night vision is valuable.


On the Garand, Quickload gives a % of powder burned in the bore.I cannot claim night live fire experience with a Garand ,but it might be the relatively quick burning 4895 powder equiv did not flash quite as much.

I'm not claiming I know this to be true,but speculating,the ball powder in the M-14 7.62 may have carried the burn farther down the bore.

Last edited by HiBC; January 27, 2019 at 02:02 PM.
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Old January 27, 2019, 02:00 PM   #9
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M-14 and M-16 flash hiders are more of a flash spreader than anything else. They create a nice star shaped muzzle flash. The shooter firing at night will lose his "night vision" anyway with any added light. Closing one eye does work though.
YouTube has some uses.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JkmWVCd674
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Old January 27, 2019, 03:29 PM   #10
dahermit
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Quote:
The shooter firing at night will lose his "night vision" anyway with any added light. Closing one eye does work though.
Close one eye...lose the night vision in the open eye, open the other, take another shot...lose the night vision in that eye? That makes for two shots before the night vision is gone.
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Old January 27, 2019, 04:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
But then why, with no flash hider on our M1 Garands, we were not effected by the flash...or barely noticed it during our night firing exercise? If we would have lost our night vision from the flash, we would not have been able to continuing firing.
The M1 Garand has a barrel length of 24 inches. The M14 has a barrel length of 22 inches. Would two inches make a difference in muzzle flash?
Shorter barrels probably had a lot to do with flash hiders becoming common. Maybe not specifically with the M1/M14 barrel length difference, but in general.

At any rate, whatever the reason, flash hiders on any gun were just about unheard of until later in WWII.
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:44 PM   #12
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A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone,
While Wiki (or anybody else) is free to print their own definition, and the terms are all too often used interchangeably in conversation, and the maker or something can call it what ever they want, to those of us who worked with the items in the military (during the 1970) we followed the terminology used during WW II and later. And for us, there was a clear difference between a flash hider and a flash suppressor.

Both have the same purpose, but there is a slight mechanical difference in their construction. The solid cone shaped device attached to the end of the barrel of the M2HB .50 cal machine gun, and the M3A1 .45acp SMG ("Grease gun" and to one variant of the M1 Garand, as well as the device on the British "Jungle Carbine" were all called "Flash hiders". Every time.

The device on the M14 and M16 are different, they have "holes" (slots" in the body, and are called "flash suppressors".

You can look in the Army manuals, and in other places and see them always referred to by different names, because they are different items.

That being said, people today tend to use the terms interchangeably, with no real world effect, other than giving me the impression that they don't really know what they are talking about...

Ask someone what motor they have in their car. Most will say without hesitation a 4.6. 8 cylinder and give the size in CuIN or in liters or CC, and think nothing of it. But technically its not a motor, it's an engine. And going further, its an internal combustion engine of (details of displacement) size.

Ask a car geek what motor is in his car, and he might ask back, "Which one?? The starter motor? windshield wiper motor?? power window motor??

We do it with clips and magazines, too. and I'm done wasting arguments over it. It happens, I point out the correct terms, once, then move on (or pretend to move on... it constantly irritates me when I read the term "bullet clips" in the text of a law..)

A flash hider and a flash suppressor are there to reduce the effect of the flash on the shooter's vision, and the people near him, on his side. The hider is true to its name, it used solid metal to "hide" part of the flash from the shooter's vision.

Flash supppressors don't "hide", they change the appearance of the flash to the shooter (and those in line with or behind them), from a "ball" to a "cross" type shape the arms of which are the flash that escapes through the slots or holes. For military use this is efficient enough, and also allows for a more durable construction. A flash hider's cone must be relatively thin metal due to weight considerations, and is more easily bent or damaged than the usual flash suppressor's heavier construction. A flash suppressor can be more heavily built, because it can be smaller than a flash hider and still do its job effectively.

I think the most likely reason the M1 Garand (and earlier rifles we used) didn't have flash hiders or suppressors is that they weren't considered a needed thing for general duty use. Rate of fire matter, too.

Prior to our modern era, you find flash hiding devices on more machine guns than on rifles. Bolt actions, and even the semi auto Garand cannot be fired fast enough, long enough to create a sustained fireball (affecting the night vision of everyone seeing it) the way a full auto does.

The M14 and the M16 are capable of full auto fire, so reducing the visible flash of bursts matters more than reducing the flash of individual shots fired from a Springfield or even a Garand.

PLUS, experience is a teacher, though some lessons are learned slower than others, after WWII, we had a LOT of people with personal experience in low light combat situations, some of them even got into decision making slots in the Ordnance organizations.

And, going back to the Garand, a medium burn rate powder .30-06, fired from a 24" barrel. semi auto, as fast as you can, 8 shots, isn't the same degree of flash as a 3second (or longer) burst from a belt fed.


Think about what you see in the dark when the other guy in your hole shoots, or if you're where that machinegun's flash is in the corner of your eye..reducing that, for the guy who isn't shooting has military value, too.

And today, with our M4 class guns, burning 30some grains of powder out of 14" or even 10" barrels. Something to cut the flash is even more important.
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Old January 28, 2019, 04:51 AM   #13
DukeConnor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit View Post
Close one eye...lose the night vision in the open eye, open the other, take another shot...lose the night vision in that eye? That makes for two shots before the night vision is gone.
We were taught to close the firing eye and use the non firing eye for observation under ilum. When you see the bad guy switch eyes to fire.
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Old January 29, 2019, 08:17 AM   #14
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Helps prevent plugging your muzzle with "goo" when using a bayonet.
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Old February 4, 2019, 10:04 PM   #15
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coolness and the AR

With the AR rifle the current rage, and the ease of swapping the various muzzle gadgets on and off, and the vast array of aftermarket products available, the cool factor is driving alot what gets screwed on the end of rifles and carbines these days.

I put an A2 on my .308 Savage Hog rifle, just because it was threaded and I could.
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Old February 5, 2019, 04:20 PM   #16
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I just had a friend shoot my M1 Garand, as well as a short barreled FAL with short Vortex, and a Century Cetme/G3.

I was amazed by how much flash the Garand had, actually more like a fireball, it was my handloads with 47 grains of 4895 under a 150 grain bullet. I never noticed it shooting it, but you could really see it standing behind the shooter.

The short Vortex had almost no flash, neither did the Cetme. we fired some SA in the Fal, and really old corrosive ZV-72 in the G3.
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Old February 6, 2019, 12:10 AM   #17
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44 AMP,

I appreciate you highlighting the distinction between flash hiders and flash suppressors. I've used the term flash hider for a long time in reference to flash suppressors, and now that I know it's technically (according to US military terminology) incorrect to do so, I will make every effort to change.

As far as motors go. . .
A lot of people must be wondering why they have to put gasoline in their electric vehicles, wouldn't you think?
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:23 AM   #18
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Flash Hiders work, if you have the right one matched to the ammo.

When I doing the night firing in Sniper School using the M21 w/ the Starlight Scope I was supprise to find there was no Muzzle Flash detected using the M14 Flash Hider and M118 Ammo.
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:58 AM   #19
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Don't forget the " It Looks Cool " factor.
The more useless junk you can attach to a rifle ....the better !
Flash hiders don't hide noting from nobody ... Think about it !
Gary
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:16 PM   #20
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Yes, more muzzle flash on carbines, less time for the gasses and powder to burn on shorter barrels. Ever shoot a Mosin The fireball out the muzzle of the M44 carbine with approx 20 inch barrel is huge in comparison to the flash of a M91/30 rifle with its 28+ inch barrel.
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Old February 14, 2019, 08:44 PM   #21
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I don't know how true this is but I read some where that a flash suppressor is meant to keep the muzzle flash out of the shooters line of sight. The flash suppressor is suppose to be timed to the barrel so that no ports are lined up with the sights.
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